By: Vilmante Markeviciene- founder of Gentle Day
Experts predict e-commerce will keep on rising in the following years, making it a good time to set up an e-shop business. For those seeking to successfully enter the hygiene product market, Vilmante Markeviciene, founder of Gentle Day, suggests heavy advertising on popular platforms, selling products on leading online marketplaces, and taking time to analyze consumer behavior.
January 13, 2022. The past several years gave a boost to e-commerce and altered the way people shop. 76% of consumers currently make purchases online and it is predicted that the numbers will keep on rising with global online sales reaching 22% of all retail sales in 2023, in comparison to 14.1% in 2019.
The feminine hygiene market also continues to grow at a CAGR rate of 6%, and is estimated to increase from USD 13.9B in 2021 to USD 23B in 2027. Vilmante Markeviciene, founder of Gentle Day—a women-owned company, focused on conscious intimate health products—said that the company’s e-shop saw a 30% jump in sales at the beginning of the pandemic thanks to five tried-and-tested practices, such as using platforms popular among shoppers, observing the performance of specific products, and reversing marketing mistakes into wins.
1. Making good use of platforms like Amazon
Amazon is the world’s leading e-commerce marketplace with two billion visits per month. According to Markeviciene, although Gentle Day’s sales dipped to pre-pandemic levels after the lockdowns, the product demand on Amazon increased by 120%.
“We saw a boost to our product sales once we started using Amazon fulfillment service, which allows Amazon Prime members to receive their purchase the next day. We also use the platform to sell our product kits which contain up to six months’ worth of products. This way consumers do not have to repurchase period products each month and save on delivery costs,” the expert said.
However, Markeviciene reported encountering a few challenges with the platform as the products tend to become inactive, and recommended to be hands-on with e-commerce marketplaces and constantly monitor ordering and shipping processes.
2. Finding out what drives shoppers to e-stores
The expert indicated that understanding consumer psychology helped the company to develop a product assortment that would correspond to consumer needs the most. This is why Gentle Day added a period product subscription option.
“Some people still do not feel entirely comfortable purchasing sanitary products in physical shops,” Markeviciene explained. “Therefore, we figured out that a subscription service might eliminate the stress of shopping for period products. It also provides some comfort in knowing that they won’t run out of sanitary products just when they are needed the most.”
Since period products are shipped every 4 months, the strain on the environment is less severe and consumers also save on shipping fees. The company has also reported that the service’s convenience led to a 50% increase in demand for intimate hygiene product subscriptions.
3. Redesigning the website for a better shopping experience
Markeviciene revealed that the company learned some hard truths when it started navigating the peculiarities of e-commerce.
“We found out the hard way that clients don’t always like change. A couple of years ago we changed our e-store interface, which was not met favorably by our customers. The sales took a dive and were slow to return to their usual level,” the expert said. “For this reason, my advice is to do extensive research on what customers prefer in website interfaces to appeal to shopper habits and expectations.”
Global surveys confirm Markeviciene’s claim as it has been determined that 94% of consumers prefer easy website navigation while 50% of shoppers would not return to the website if the content is irrelevant. Also, 46% of people judge the company based on the visual appeal of the website.
4. Investing in cross-platform advertising
Markeviciene noted that to recover from the aforementioned sales dip, the company invested heavily in advertising.
“Our e-sales grew largely because of intense email marketing and advertising,” Markeviciene said. “Therefore, I advise e-commerce beginners to monitor social media trends and newcomers, such as Tik Tok, to get ahead of the game and reach out to potential customers. Also, it goes without saying that advertising on Google, Facebook, Instagram, or other popular platforms is a must.”
5. Considering different shipping options
According to the entrepreneur, e-shops are also a good start for people planning to do business in foreign countries as they do not require large initial investments. However, Markeviciene recommended setting up separate e-shops for different markets—one for Europe and one for the U.S., to take advantage of the most convenient storing and shipping options. For instance, Gentle Day uses fulfillment centers in Poland and the United Kingdom, and warehouses in other EU countries and the U.S.
“Several storing and shipping options allow us to cut delivery time and costs. On the other hand, not all items are stocked in different fulfillment centers,” Markeviciene added. “Therefore, prior to setting up certain delivery alternatives, it is essential to weigh in what is more important—do all operations from one warehouse and pay more for shipping as well as prolong the delivery time to end-user, or use different fulfillment facilities.”
Markeviciene pointed out that customer satisfaction was always the main priority for the company. For this reason, it decided to go with different warehousing and shipping options, and ensure the orders are shipped out fast, even if it meant that maintaining several fulfillment facilities incurred additional costs to the company.
Gentle Day’s founder also encouraged those looking to enter e-commerce to leverage the growing market to their advantage and take many available shortcuts to build their e-shops—tutorials, blogs, or e-commerce platforms like Shopify, which help entrepreneurs to launch online businesses from scratch.
ABOUT GENTLE DAY
Gentle Day is a women-owned brand, which focuses on organic, hypoallergenic feminine hygiene products, using FAR-IR anion strip technology in the sanitary pads. The company was first introduced in Lithuania in 2009, where it became a top organic sanitary napkin brand in just four years, and later expanded to Europe, reaching the U.S. market in 2016. Currently, Gentle Day is available in 15 countries worldwide. The product range includes sanitary pads, tampons, menstrual cups, and period panties.